(Click on map for relevant pictures)
DETAILS OF THE MAIN FEATURES INDICATED
(Pictures of the places indicated here can be accessed by clicking on the relevant sections of the map)
The Railway Station: Built in 1845, the York-Scarborough railway line came into being the same year as this map. When Anne visited Scarborough with the Robinson family, in the years 1840 to 1844, the only means of transport available to them was horse-drawn carriage; however, when she made her dying visit there in 1849, she travelled by train from York with Charlotte and their friend Ellen Nussey. The journey took place on Friday, 25th. May and Charlotte insisted on paying first class rail fares, possibly to provide maximum comfort for Anne who was by then very weak and frail. It may also have been as a treat, suspecting this might be Anne's last journey.
This rail line is still in use today - the 'station' being at the junction of Valley Bridge Road and Westborough. (Return to map)
Wood's Lodgings: The lodgings stood on the top of St. Nicholas Cliff at the centre of the bay; and gave stupendous views of the South Sands, harbour and castle. This is where Anne stayed with the Robinson family when she accompanied them on their annual holidays between the years 1840 and 1844, and where she ultimately spent her last few days in 1849 - when she came in the hope that the change of location and fresh sea air would give her a chance of recovery from consumption (tuberculosis). She died three days after her arrival - on Monday 28th. May 1849 (Whit Monday).
The site of Wood's Lodgings is currently occupied by the giant Grand Hotel - visible from many locations in Scarborough. (Return to map)
The 'Spa Bridge': In 1826, the newly formed 'Cliff Bridge Company' leased the Spa from the Corporation, and in order to provide easy access from St. Nicholas Cliff, erected a very high, elegant, iron foot-bridge. In 1845, its specifications were given as: 13.5' wide; 414' long and 75' high. The bridge is very close to the sea front - and runs parallel to the sands; spanning the gorge down which ran, at that time, the 'Mill beck' - a small stream running from the southern inland area of Scarborough down to the sea. Like Wood's Lodgings, it provided spectacular views of the South Bay and castle: patrons would also gain the full benefit of the fresh sea breeze that would frequently blow across the bridge. Anne took many walks with the Robinsons along this structure. A Toll booth stood at the St. Nicholas Cliff end, and here, tickets could be purchased allowing unlimited access to the bridge and Spa for a one, two, or four week period: 'season tickets' could also be purchased. The day before Anne died, gaining great pleasure in introducing Charlotte and Ellen to the delights of Scarborough, she chaperoned them along the bridge, having previously purchased three tickets for the privilege.
Access to the bridge is now free to the general public. It was originally
called the Cliff Bridge, but its official name today is the 'Spa Bridge';
and the gorge, which it spans, now carries Valley Road - a main road which
leads from the southern inland area of Scarborough directly down to the
promenade and South Sands. The old 'Mill Beck' is now concealed beneath
ground level in this area - being only visible higher up the valley. (Return
Henry Wyatt's 'Gothic Saloon': Situated on a rock/concrete platform on the sea-front - and in the southern half of the bay, the saloon opened 'with dancing and fireworks on 16 August 1839' - the year before Anne's first visit to Scarborough. Subsequently, many orchestras would perform in the saloon and, having a great love for music, Anne would enjoy taking her charges there to see the concerts.
The site currently houses the 'Spa Complex buildings'; which still play host to many shows and concerts in addition to a number of major conferences.
The 'Spa Wells': The Spa water emerged as a natural spring from the cliffs just south of the Mill Beck. A tank, or well, formed a miniature reservoir of the Spa water, and this was accessed in an underground room situated just beside the Gothic Saloon. Although it is not recorded, it is quite possible that Anne may have tried them in 1849, hoping they might assist in her hoped-for recovery from consumption. Indeed, she may well have sampled them when visiting Scarborough with the Robinsons some years earlier: the Spa-water was certainly reputed to cure asthma, from which we know she suffered.
The 'underground room' and 'tank' still exist though they are not now
open to the public. In fact access can only be gained via a manhole cover
situated in the middle of the road. There has been some recent discussion
in Scarborough about re-opening the Spa Wells to present a new, or rather
re-introduced, attraction for holidaymakers. The tank overflow trickles
out of a small pipe sticking out of the sea wall - and runs onto the centre
platform of a set of nearby steps that lead from the promenade down to
the sands: anyone wishing to sample the water can do so (though it doesn't
look very appetizing - and actually tastes rather bitter!) (Return
The Town Hall: Situated near the top of St. Nicholas Street, a few minutes walk from Wood's Lodgings; this was another venue for a number of concerts. Anne would almost certainly have attended some of these with the Robinson girls. One concert took place on Tuesday 16 July 1844 (while Anne was at Scarborough); it included a Mozart symphony, a quartet by Pleyel, a Rossini overture and various other works including a flute duet.2
The current Town Hall stands on the opposite side of St Nicholas Street
and a little closer to the Grand Hotel. (Return to
The Theatre Royal: This theatre stood on St. Thomas Street - a continuation of St. Nicholas Street, and only about a three-minutes walk from Wood's Lodgings. It was owned and run by the Roxby family. On 20 October 1845, the Robinson's eldest daughter, Lydia, absconded with and married the play actor Henry Roxby, proving that the Robinsons - and almost certainly Anne - were attending the concerts and performances at this theatre. On Thursday, 1 August 1844 (while Anne was at Scarborough) the company performed King Richard II. On the Saturday there was a 'fashionable night', including an appearance of the celebrated comedian, Robert Roxby.3
The Theatre Royal had opened in 1767 and had a long run - presenting its final performance in 1924, with the building being demolished a few years later: its site is now occupied by a night club. (Return to map)
The 'Rotunda Museum': Almost directly beneath the Cliff Bridge was a relatively small, circular building with a domed roof. This was a museum that housed 'geological specimens and fossils'. It was accessed from St. Nicholas Cliff by descending a rather steep semi-circular path beside the bridge entrance. This building was later described by Anne's brother, Branwell, in an unfinished novel. It is not recorded, but inconceivable to think that Anne would not have paid a visit with the Robinsons, if not alone, to this museum. She may have escorted her charges there as an educational exercise.
The museum remains today and is currently known as the 'Rotunda Museum'.
It was extended in the 1860s by the addition of two rectangular side 'wings'.
Its displays have, no doubt, been extended since the 1840s, but it is very
likely that many of the original artefacts are still on show. (Return
Baths: In 1845 there were five public baths situated at various locations in Scarborough (indicated on map). Two days before she died, Anne went bathing at one of these. Against Charlotte's and Ellen's wishes she insisted on being allowed to bathe there alone. It is not clear which baths she attended, but given Anne's poor state of health and great physical weakness (she had been escorted around in a wheel-chair much of the time throughout this York/Scarborough venture), it was very probably Travis's Baths - the nearest ones to the lodgings. They were situated at the entrance to St. Nicholas Cliff - little over a hundred yards from Wood's Lodgings. On returning to the lodgings Anne collapsed from exhaustion at the gateway: this may be viewed as an indication that the baths she attended was one of the other two - a little further away, and closer to 'Christ Church'. See map for location of the three 'baths' in the vicinity of St. Nicholas Cliff - click on them for illustrations and more details.
Some of the foundation brick-work of Travis's baths can be seen in a
small court-yard at the top-end of St. Nicholas Cliff; however, no other
trace of these Victorian establishments remain. (Return
Christ Church: Situated near the top of Vernon Place (now Vernon Road) - about a four-minutes walk from Wood's Lodgings. This was where Anne worshipped with the Robinson family: her funeral was also conducted in this church.
The church was demolished in 1979 - it's site now being occupied by
'Christchurch House' - located on the 'Westborough' side, or north side,
of the Scarborough Library. 'Christchurch House' currently houses a supermarket
and a fish-and-chip restaurant. (Return to map)
St. Mary's church: Located at the highest point of Scarborough (excepting the castle), and close to the castle entrance. Anne makes reference to this church in her novel, Agnes Grey - though its actual name is omitted: after a walk through the crowded streets, the hero and heroine come in sight of 'the venerable old church, and the castle hill' which they ascend on their way to the vantage point from where they look out over the sea. Anne is now buried in this church's graveyard.
From some parts of St. Mary's churchyard (the location of Anne's grave
is one) - captivating views of the South Bay can be obtained. The church
is a medieval structure, and by the 1840s was in a very dilapidated state.
It was undergoing extensive renovations in 1849 when Anne was buried there.
(Return to map)
Anne's grave: This map was drawn the year after Anne's last visit to Scarborough with the Robinson family (1845). It was another four years before she spent her final days there - in May 1849; however, I have indicated on it the eventual location of her grave. Her grave is now maintained by the Brontë Society. (Return to map)